PBA: 'Feeling better,' Justin Brownlee peaking at right time for Ginebra | Inquirer Sports
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PBA: ‘Feeling better,’ Justin Brownlee peaking at right time for Ginebra

/ 07:24 PM March 24, 2022
Justin Brownlee Ginebra PBA

Barangay Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee shoots a jumper during a game against NLEX in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals. PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines-Barangay Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee has been scoring tear in the PBA Governors’ Cup playoffs.

Sure, fans could charge it on Brownlee flipping a certain switch, according to Tim Cone. But it’s actually more than that.

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“I know people made a big deal about ‘Playoff Brownlee,’ like suddenly he steps it up because it’s the playoffs. And yes there’s a little bit of that, but generally, it’s just he’s just him getting in better shape,” he said on the heels of the defending champions’ 95-86 victory over NLEX in the semis opener Wednesday night.

“He was off basically for two years, he played short-time in the Middle East, but he hadn’t played competitive basketball for quite a while. He came in, was one of the last imports to arrive. It was a struggle for him, to get his back his legs,” Cone went on.

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“Right now, to me, he’s starting to peak at this point–in terms of shape and of game.”

Brownlee led the way for Ginebra that night, scattering 27 points spiked with 14 rebounds, six assists, and four blocks.

Throughout the playoffs, he has been the Gin Kings’ foremost weapon, averaging 31.3 points. That’s a bump of roughly three notches from his 28.7 during the classification phase.

“Well, that’s what I’ve been working on,” the charming American told a few reporters right after emerging from the team’s dugout.

“I knew soon as I got back in the Philippines, I didn’t feel like I was in great shape, so I’ve just been working hard trying to get back to that rhythm I’m accustomed to here (with Ginebra).

Brownlee went on to reveal that the pounds he gained throughout his mostly inactive 2021 were due to an ankle injury.

“Around this time, Mid-March, I think. So there was like six to eight months of rehab process,” he said. “I tore three ligaments. Two completely, and one around 75 percent torn. To be honest, it was just a battle just getting back to an ‘OK’ shape before I got here. Just trying to work on that has been a long time.”

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Brownlee said he was fortunate that his ankle no longer required surgery, and even more glad that he’s nearing his optimal playing weight at a time when Ginebra’s beginning to click on all cylinders. As things stand, he is at 223 lbs.

“I’m feeling better, and feeling more like me before the pandemic,” he said. “The lightest I recorded was in, I wanna say 2017. I was 214 lbs on one day. Maybe I was really dehydrated. But normally, I’m around 218 to 220 as far as my playing weight is.”

“Luckily, it’s just good timing,” he added. Not only with myself. The team’s playing well, clicking well. We got a good rhythm, we got a good defensive mindset, so I think those have been really helpful for us,” he added.

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